National | Emergency Services

Fire and Emergency fighting floods, rescuing people, informing them - 400 an hour

More than 400 people in Aotearoa call 111 every hour, and Fire and Emergency's challenge is to keep up with the demand.

That's according to Fire and Emergency deputy chief executive kaupapa Māori and cultural communities Piki Thomas, who also says everyone needs to be cautious and mindful of the impact storms can have.

He says people think that once a giant storm is over, Fire and Emergency isn't needed but they don't realise its role includes informing everyone "to ensure that everyone understands the circumstance we are all in, no matter who or where you are.”

Thomas says, for example,  people need to understand that flood waters are not safe at all and people should not swim in the floodwater as it is hazardous to humans, animals and even the environment.

He says some individuals don't take the situation seriously enough and don't understand it is critical for Fire and Emergency to continue its work in informing others, assisting those in need, and supporting those who the floods have severely impacted.

"In Tapuika (the Te Kuiti area) the trains have come off the rails, Tauranga and Parehauraki are slowly sinking in the water. The weather stops for no one, and our mahi is challenging enough as it is, serving and aiding those in need, particularly when individuals are critically hurt and want immediate care.

He wants people to think cautiously before they call 111. "If you require assistance or any of our services, please contact us. However, if you do not require immediate assistance, please do not call. For those who truly need help and assistance please do not hesitate to contact 111 and we will be there to help and assist you as best as we can."

Te Rito